Monday, November 23, 2009

Marinated Tofu with Ginger Cashew Dipping Sauce

Marinated Tofu with Ginger Cashew Dipping Sauce

2 pounds firm tofu (not silken)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
¼ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon chickpea or mellow white miso
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup orange juice

Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 green onions, minced
3 tablespoons Tamari
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup finally ground cashews
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Hot pepper sauce

Preparing Tofu

Slice tofu lengthwise into ½ -inch strips. In shallow baking dish, combine ginger, liquid aminos, miso, garlic, sesame oil, juice and 2 tablespoons water. Place tofu in dish and coat with marinade (flipping to coat both sides). Set aside to marinate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tofu on ungreased baking sheet and save leftover marinade. Bake 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, flip tofu, baste with remaining marinade and bake another 15 minutes.

Preparing Sauce

In small skillet over medium heat, gently sauté garlic and ginger in grapeseed oil for 2 minutes. Add green onions and sauté another 2 minutes. Add tamari, syrup, coconut milk, cashews and ¼ cup water and stir to combine. Increase heat briefly and then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to combine flavors. Remove from heat and season to taste with toasted sesame oil and hot pepper sauce.
Serve tofu with sauce on side or drizzled on top.

Note: Tamari is a soy sauce. Bragg liquid aminos is a condiment that tastes like soy sauce with a hint of maple. Miso is a rich source of minerals, helps to cleanse the body of toxins. It can be found in specialty food stores or Asian markets.

Three Bean Chili

Three Bean Chili

1 thumb-size piece kombu (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
4 cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup tomato paste
¼ cup red wine
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
6-8 drops hot sauce (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 ½ cups cooked black beans
1 ½ cups cooked aduki beans
1 ½ cups cooked pinto beans
Vegetable stock as needed
Garnishes: chopped green onions, shredded soy or rice cheese (or regular cheddar)
Tofu sour cream (posted on Veggicurious)

Place kombu in bowl with enough water to cover and soak 10 minutes or until soft, Drain, mince and set aside.
In large pot over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil for 3 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Add green peppers and sauté 2 minutes more. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, wine, oregano, cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, cayenne and salt. Add cooked beans and kombu, stir to combine. Add just enough vegetable stock so that it's still thick but has some sauce. Simmer for at least 45 minutes adding stock as needed to thin. Check for seasoning, garnish as desired and serve.

Note: Kombu is a sea vegetable. Kombu is known for it's ability to tenderize legumes and reduce their gaseous properties. It can be found in specialty food stores (Whole Foods) or Asian markets.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tofu Sour Cream

Tofu Sour Cream

8 ounces firm or extra firm silken tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Canola oil
2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

In food processor, whip tofu until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined.
Chill before serving.

Note: if you want a spicy sour cream, just add ½ a jalapeno (stem and seeds removed) while processing remaining ingredients.

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

About 5-6 cups vegetable stock
1 large bunch asparagus, about 1 pound
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced shitake mushrooms (1/4 inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon, minced garlic
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine (optional)
1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup coarsely grated Fontina cheese
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (optional)

Pour the stock into a saucepan, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Snap the woody ends from the asparagus and peel any tough skin from the stalks. Discard the stems. Slice the spears ¼ inch thick on the diagonal. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Scatter in the mushrooms and do not move them until they begin to brown, about 1 minute. Then season with salt and pepper, and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, season lightly with salt, and cook until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the rice and stir until the grains look pearly white, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine, if using, and cook until the pan is nearly dry. Adjust the heat so the rice cooks at a slow simmer. Add ½ cup of the stock, stir, and cook until the pan is nearly dry again. Season lightly with salt and pepper now so the flavor permeates the rice. Add another ½ cup of the stock and continue to stir and cook, adding stock as necessary., until the rice is three-fourths cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme, mushrooms, and sliced asparagus. Continue to cook until the rice is al dente and the asparagus is bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter, Fontina cheese, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley and the lemon zest. Taste for seasoning. Dust with the Parmesan before serving.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

1 medium zucchini, diced
1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces whole-wheat pasta of your choice
½ cup crumbled feta cheese for sprinkling at the table.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
Toss zucchini, bell pepper and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large roasting pan or large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables, stirring every 5 minutes, until tender and browned, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook pasta until just tender. Drain and transfer to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the roasted vegetables and toss well. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve, passing feta cheese separately.

Note: I added some sliced shitake mushrooms while baking. It was delicious.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Cooking the onions:
2 large onions
5 tablespoons ghee (or clarified butter)
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Finely dice the onions. Then heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and melt the ghee. Once melted, add the onions followed by the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until soft and golden but not brown. Do not rush this step.

Preparing other ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
1 ½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
2 green chilies (Serrano or jalapeno), minced
3 large ripe tomatoes (about 3 cups) chopped
2-19 ounce cans chickpeas
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon Kashmiri powder (An Indian Chili powder. If you can’t find it, just use regular chili powder).

While the onions are cooking, you can start getting the rest of the ingredients ready. First, crush the garlic into a paste. Then finely chop the ginger and mince the chilies. Depending on how spicy you like you curry, you may want to remove some of the ribs and seeds. Next, core and dice the tomatoes into medium dice. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water and set aside.
Remember to stir the onions occasionally and adjust the heat lower if necessary. Remember to cook them slowly.
Next, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind the coriander flowed by the cumin.

Cooking the Dish:

1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups water

Once the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir to coat with the butter and let cook for a minute or so until they release their aroma. Then add the spices and fry just until they release their fragrance. Next, turn the heat up to medium, add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Then add the salt and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and soften, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the chickpeas and water. Bring the mixture to a quick boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover only partially to allow the moisture to evaporate very slowly, while the chickpeas cook. Let this simmer and cook for about 20 minutes in total, stirring occasionally to ensure noting is sticking. After about 10 minutes, check to see how much moisture remains. You want to reduce and thicken, but still have some liquid. Meanwhile, you can prepare the garnish.

Finishing the dish:
1 lemon
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¾ cup plain yogurt (thick yogurt)

Roughly chop the cilantro and cut the lemon in half. Once almost all the liquid has evaporated, squeeze half the lemon juice over top and let cook for another minute or so. To finish the dish, turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Just before serving, fold in the cilantro and test for seasoning. Serve over brown basmati and you have a great meal.

Note: To make ghee, just google it and they will tell you exactly how to make it.
If you do not have a grinder for the seeds, just use ground cumin and coriander, making sure to use less since it’s already ground.

Fusilli alla Caprese

Fusilli alla Caprese

1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 ½ pints)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 ¼ cups)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky sauce, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine. Stir in the basil leaves and mozzarella, then add the reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Pasta with Asparagus-Lemon Sauce

Pasta with Asparagus-Lemon Sauce

1 pound fresh, medium thickness asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound penne or preferred pasta
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces; reserve tips separately. Cook asparagus stems in 5 to 6 quarts boiling water with 2 tablespoons salt until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain asparagus well and transfer to a food processor or blender.

Cook asparagus tips in the same boiling water until just tender, 3 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to colander, reserving boiling water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain tips well.

Puree asparagus stems with zest, oil, and ½ cup asparagus cooking water. Transfer sauce to a 4-quart saucepan.

Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water for about three-fourths of the recommended time (very el dente). You will finish cooking off the pasta in a sauce pan.
Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain pasta.

Add pasta, asparagus tips, and ½ cup reserved water to asparagus sauce and cook over gigh heat, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, or until pasta is almost al dente and sauce coasts pasta. Add more cooking water, a bit at a time, until sauce coats pasta but is a little loose (the cheese will thicken it slightly).

Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper, to taste and cook, stirring until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.